KUALA LUMPUR: They were the unsung heroes who protected the country's sovereignty at the height of the confrontation with Indonesia.
The men were the pioneer "green beret" members of the elite Malaysian Special Service Unit (MSSU) of the Armed Forces, formed in 1965.
Comprising officers and men from the army and navy, the MSSU was modelled after the British Royal Marine commandos and was jointly led by Major Abu Hassan from the army and Lt-Cdr Cheah Leong Voon from the navy.
Thereafter, came the establishment of separate commando units for the Army, Royal Malaysian Navy and Royal Malaysian Air Force.
Thus, nostalgia was aplenty as eight of the surviving 42 original MSSU commandos gathered for a reunion, 46 years since they joined the MSSU, at the Royal Lake Club, recently.
They included Cheah, 75, who later retired as captain, and Able Seaman Ismail Mohd Said, 68, who later served the merchant shipping industry and rose to the rank of marine captain.
Others present at the event were Warrant Officer I (rtd) Sidney de Alwis, 68, Warrant Officer II (rtd) Awi Abdul Majid, 75, Chief Petty Officers (rtd) Dominic Bernard Anthony, 70, Khalid Siran, 68, and Salleh Salim, 69, and Leading Hand (rtd) Terry Tan Geok Seng, 66.
Also there were Ismail's wife Zaiton Ahmad and son Irfan.